True North Youth Issue - May 2016

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VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1 • MAY 2016



WOMEN OF WISDOM, WOMEN OF GRACE The Young Transforming the Church

The Dream Team 40



Working with the youth always gives us positive and energetic vibes. They are fun and eager to try something new (poses). Indeed, the future of our community is bright and full of life.


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ramoncito dela Cruz MANAGING EDITOR Aly Sulit-Placino EDITORIAL BOARD Gary Mendoza (coordinator-in-charge) Berry Marfori Anna Sobrepeña Chito Sobrepeña


ART DIRECTOR Joseph Manglicmot

Teachings 4 Training our Youth Transform the World

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Judith Angela Alpay Chi Datu-Bocobo Ruby Manuel John Yocum




University Disciples


10 Questions The Juan God Chose


Photo from Maestro’s Facebook page

True North is a publication of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon ( ph) and its partners – Christ’s Youth in Action, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, and the Institute for Pastoral Development. LNP is a member of the federation of communities around the globe, Sword of the Spirit (

True North is inviting all engaging storytellers—through words and pictures. We are expanding our pool of writers, editors and photographers for our forthcoming issues. Before we can write beautiful prose and compose inspiring pictures, we also need story ideas. Interested members of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon and all its outreach organizations are welcome to email or call Monching dela Cruz at ramoncitodelcruz@ or 0917 891 7644.



15 The (Dream) Team 40


In navigational parlance, True North is a constant that guides travelers. In the course of our lives, our True North is Jesus Christ, the constant for all times.


Editor’s Note A Blank Page


Maligayang Kultura Glimpses of Ligaya's Tradition


Ode to the World's Greatest Architect


My Take The Lord is My Strength and My Song

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NOTE: All recent True North issues can be shared and read in Look for the True North page.



’ve been staring at a blank page for a long time. It took me a while to work on this issue. I guess it’s the inevitable writer’s block – a dry spell that hits writers every once in a while. It can be stressful, especially for those who work with a deadline looming large. But it can also be good (I’m trying to look at this with a positive point of view) because it gives me time to reflect, and see the endless possibilities that a page can bring forth. I invite you to read this issue’s articles with the same perspective, with boundless hope for the future of our Community, as possibilities are limitless with our new Senior Head Coordinator, Andy Juan, at the helm. He who is to lead Ligaya in expanding our heart, our reach and our mission. Our 10 Questions with “The Juan God Chose” then is a must-read. Speaking about great expectations, we are featuring the youngest districts in Ligaya – the vibrant and energetic University Districts – where we can look to with much anticipation on how God will move and empower them in the years to come. This is not simply wishful thinking. John Yocum’s piece traced the many beginnings of great movements in our Church to the young people enlightened and touched by the Holy Spirit. Just look at our current corps of Ligaya leaders, many were called and bravely responded to that calling at their young age. True North talked to the three UD Sector Coordinators to find out what make young people stay rather than stray. We also have short sharings by our UD members, two of them became covenanted members last September.

This year, Ligaya is expanding not just our mission and reach, we are also expanding our Ligaya Center. True North talked to the architect Nabors, the father-and-son tandem, who designed the new wing. As we face new and exciting prospects ahead, we also look back at the year that was. And what a year it was. We celebrated Ligaya’s 40th anniversary with gratitude and joy. Here, we thank the people who made our anniversaries (yes, even the three-year run-up to our 40th anniversary) memorable. A shoutout to the Dream Team 40 ably led by Dennis Castillo. One of the tangible outputs of our 40th anniversary is the CD called Music for His Glory. It was produced by one of our sisters, Chi DatuBocobo, who is a record producer and a songwriter herself. As she shares her musical talents with the Community, she also shares her journey with us in this issue. As you can see, these blank pages have come out alive with

Dress by MM Bogarin


many good stories to read, share and contemplate on. These blank pages have told me to be patient, as God’s inspirations can never come a minute too late. Everything has its perfect timing.






ng Ligaya ng Panginoon has three University Districts, and sponsors the work of Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) in 50 campuses throughout the country. Each year, the community sponsors youth camps, mission trips, wilderness adventures; sends out mission workers to other communities around the world; and hosts guest mission workers from other locales. Why, you might reasonably ask, do our communities put so much effort, time and resources into youth work? Simply put: Investment in youth and university students is a solid investment in the future for our communities, the Church, and our mission. A brief survey of modern Church history shows that investment in youth and student work has an impact wider than the universities and schools, and can resound for generations. In 1534, a Basque nobleman, Iñigo Lopez de Loyola, and six students he had gathered in the University of Paris, formed a missionary band, calling it The Society of Jesus. In 1537, these seven and three more former students presented themselves to the Pope, who officially approved their order. By 1556, the Jesuits counted 1,000 members; by 1600, it grew to 5,000; by the 100th anniversary of their approval as a religious congregation, they had 22,000 men. They would prove to be the strongest missionary, a cultural and spiritual force in the Church in the early modern era.


Ignatius Loyola, a military figure in both background and temperament, and an acutely strategic leader, knew instinctively that the future of his Order lay in work with youth and students. It’s no accident that the Society drew almost all its early members from universities, or that the Jesuits came to invest heavily in education—by which they meant moral, intellectual and spiritual training—of the young. As the founder’s early and perhaps most intimate companion, Pedro Ribadneira, said: “Institutio puerorum reformatio mundi” (Training of youth will transform the world). Loyola knew that young people are receptive to a life-shaping, radical vision and ready to act decisively on it. Their minds are open, their habits still malleable, and their fundamental lifechoices still to be decided. The Cambridge Seven were a group of British students from Cambridge University who left behind bright futures in various professions in 1885 to join the China Inland Mission (CIM). The CIM, about two decades into its work, had at the time 163 workers. Within 15 years, and on the strength of the example of these “rich young men,” 800 missionaries, about a third of the Protestant missionaries in the world, had followed them to China. The Cambridge Seven eventually spread their efforts to India, Africa and Tibet as well. None of the original seven was over 23

Photo from

By John Yocum

TEACHINGS when they signed on for a life in foreign evangelization, yet all of them died fully engaged in the work. They inspired and emboldened hundreds of others to follow suit in the next few years, and many thousands more over the next century. (Just ask a first-generation CYA staffers about Hudson Taylor, for example.) In the US, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began with a group of unsophisticated, inexperienced, excitable college students on a retreat at Duquesne University in 1966. Fortunately, no one told them how ill-equipped they were to make an impact on the Church and the world. Now, conservative estimates would say that over 50 million people have been directly touched by the movement, including a significant number of bishops, theologians, lay leaders, and founders of new communities. Students and young people have been at the heart of our own history in The Sword of the Spirit. The first covenant communities in the USA began as student groups, whose seasoned, veteran founders were all under 28. The influence of those communities radiated to other parts of the world, in part through foreign graduate students like Peter Shebaya, who founded The People of God community in Lebanon after being baptized in the Spirit in Ann Arbor. Fr. Herb Schneider was baptized in the Holy Spirit while he was a graduate student in Austria. Though Ligaya did not begin with a student group, it quickly drew large numbers of young people, and by the early 1980s had launched Christ’s Youth in Action. A very large proportion of the current leadership of the community is made up of people who entered community life young and single, many of them as students. Our own youth are now taking on the mantle of mission in youth and student work. All of this makes wonderfully good sense. Students and young people are making the crucial choices for their life, considering some of the most fundamental questions in their life (consciously or not) and deciding (consciously or not) what they’ll live for. A student I worked with met the Lord powerfully and made a difficult decision to enter one of our summer households. Two weeks into the summer, he was re-thinking his life from the ground up. He told me he intended to sell his flashy, powerful silver sports car and gave away the money beyond the amount his father paid for it to support mission work (with his father’s blessing, of course). That was no rash choice. I see him live in the same spirit of generosity and Godly zeal, now that he is a prosperous medical doctor. But he set his course as a youth. Many of us know of a brilliant young physicist from an illustrious family who lives as a consecrated celibate woman and has touched the lives of countless young women, inspiring them to entrust their whole lives to God. The Lord claimed her heart

while she was still young enough to make the choices that would bear fruit in the lives of scores of other young men and women now living for the Lord in the Philippines and many other places around the world. This brings in an important qualifier to what I’ve said about young people and university students. Young people in general look to, and need, older people for guidance, perspective and wisdom. The students from the Duquesne weekend were prayed over by a couple of men in their late thirties who had been touched by getting to know Pentecostals. Even the founders of our first communities sought and received wisdom from older leaders, both within and beyond the charismatic renewal. That natural tendency is evident in the tradition of mentorship in our communities. Think of Vic Gutierrez and Andy Juan. One of the best long-term investments a community can make is to provide pastoral support for students and student leaders. Young people need an environment that feeds zeal, nurtures faith, and instills courage and boldness; a space to develop a disciple’s identity and a room to carry out mission they can call their own. The Arise Conference, sponsored by The Sword of The Spirit’s Kairos International in 2015, embodied that in a tangible way. If you want to see the impact, watch as you see lives given to mission and service, and listen to the testimonies of hearts enkindled with new zeal and impelled by a new vision. Institutio puerorum reformatio mundi. Training of youth will transform the world. Indeed.

John Yocum is the regional elder for the Servants of the Word in North America and leads the international formation household in Ann Arbor. He is a coordinator in The Word of Life Community and serves as a regional coordinator for The Sword of the Spirit communities in North America, as well as on the executive committee of the international teaching team for The Sword of the Spirit. John has a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Oxford. He has taught Theology at Oxford, at the Loyola School of Theology in Manila and currently teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.


University  Disciples TRUE NORTH BEAT 1

By Ramoncito dela Cruz


They are young,


they are engaged,


they are on fire.

his is the consensus of the three coordinators for the youngest districts in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community – the University District (UD). Established in the early years of Ligaya, the UD was disbanded in 1993 and was only brought back in 1999. Despite its hiatus, UD was a very fertile ground for Ligaya’s leadership,

with a significant number of our coordinators entering Ligaya through the UD. As the sector empowerment plan was not formalized then, the UD was reconvened only in the North Sector in 1999. University children from other sectors had to join the North UD to receive pastoral care and guidance. It was only in mid-2012 that the Central UD was formed, and a year later when the South UD was established. “Over the last five years, we have seen the blessings of collaborative work from various stakeholders in our youth work. Our community leaders have provided us with the vision, resources and guidance. We have parents who eagerly support and encourage their children by ‘letting them go’ so their children may experience what they themselves have experienced,” Toby Estrella, the North UD Coordinator, says. “We have tireless pastoral and youth workers who serve with passion and love for the young. Most importantly, we have Ligaya members who do not only support us in various ways, but set themselves as models for the youth.” With the UD firmly in place, Ligaya’s youth program now spans the whole length of “the bridge” – starting from the Friends of Jesus, to the Junior Young

Adult and the Young Adult programs, up to the UD, and right into the Singles, Couples and Nuggets of Wisdom (NOW) groups. The activities of the youth program are now integrated. The transition is more or less seamless. Parents are more involved. Many youth workers have signed up to pastor the young people who are at their most vulnerable to the wiles of the world. “With the multimedia and a fastpaced environment we are in right now, there are many distractions that can take up the time and energy of our youth, giving them less time for God,” Ricky Dagelet, the South UD Coordinator, says. “That’s why our pastoral leaders need to spend more time with them and be more understanding of their situations. They have to continue to pray for their members since this is God’s work, and we need God’s grace to help form them.” A PLACE TO CALL THEIR OWN The three coordinators, who were evangelized in their youth, knew all too well about the temptations of the world. “The university years are a most delicate and challenging part of the youth life for our members, and they need the critical support at this time of their life from the community,” Ces Pilapil, the Central UD Coordinator, points out. “The UD gives them a home where they can truly call their own.” So, what do you do with more than 400 young and energetic – both affiliates and full members – university students and new graduates under your care?

Turn to page 711


JOSE RAFAELLE “JOREL” AGSALUD TEOTICO Central UD You can say that I’m a Ligaya kid through and through. I was born into and grew up in community. I never had a real barkada in high school. I hung out with different groups of friends. It is only in UD that I have a regular group that I hang out with – that’s my MG (Men's Group). We may be many, but we really bonded well as a group. I like my MG because we grew up together. We all know about the community way of life. There’s no need to explain myself on why I couldn’t join my other friends on Saturday dinner time (Lord’s Day) or why I needed to attend so many “retreats and recollections” (Formation Courses and other Ligaya events) in a year. Admittedly, there’s a strong unseen connection among community kids. The bond of brotherhood runs deeper than with non-community friends. I experienced this first-hand when I went through a rough patch some years ago. They were there to commiserate with me. Of course, you expect that from your buddies – through thick and thin, as they say. But my MG did more than the usual gestures to cheer me up. They prayed over me. I felt their genuine care and concern for me. It was then that I knew that our bond was not based on mere common interests or hobbies, but it based on our collective love for the Lord, and the Lord’s love for us, individually and as a group. It deepened my faith in God and my bond with my brothers. I try to live out my commitment through my service in the music ministry (where I play the bass guitar and sometimes sing as one of the vocalists) and my presence in CYA activities. Being a community kid, witnessing how God has worked wonders in our family and in the lives of community titos and titas, I always knew that I wanted to be part of a community when I grow up. My bigger question for myself was not whether I should join Ligaya or not (because I knew then that I wanted to be in Ligaya), but the biggest question had been: “Is this the community that God wanted me to be part of?” During the covenant candidate weekend retreat, one brother quipped over lunch (and it was not even about the covenanting issue): “If you have yearned for something good for so a long time, it must be God who planted that desire in you.” It spoke right through me. With a heart full of gratitude and humility, I joyfully accepted the covenant commitment last September.


TRUE NORTH BEAT 1 MARIA ISABELLA KATRINA “MIKA” Y. AREVALO South UD One of the things that I like in the University District is my WG (Women's Group). My WG has helped me a lot in the past year, from helping me handle certain situations to making the right decisions. As a student, there are some things that are happening in my life that I don’t feel comfortable telling my parents. I share these things with my WG and they help, advise and support me in every way they can. If at times I feel like I’m moving away from the right path, they pull me back or give me a nudge and guide me back to the right path. They keep me grounded. They are my family with no blood relation. I have experienced something different when I joined the UD. During my YA (Young Adults program) days, I didn't see the seriousness of attending Ligaya events. I was mostly there because of the fun or because my parents told me to. Now that I’m in the UD, and probably because I’m much older now, I can see the relevance of the teachings, seminars and the events that I attended before. Even if I had attended several retreats in the past, I only get to appreciate them more now. It may sound cliché, but I have decided to stay in the UD, because I want my faith to grow deeply rooted in Him. I want to become a better child of God. I also want to be in the UD because of the relationships that I’ve built in the community, the way the people in the community have helped me deal with challenges that came my way, and how they have shaped me as a person. If ever I get married and have kids, I also want them to grow to be children of God and to grow in a community where we all share the same principles and beliefs, and which I consider as my family. The most memorable UD experience for me thus far is serving the students in Malayan College Laguna last summer. Their story on how they became part of Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) amazed me. They told us that they searched and contacted CYA because they wanted to form a similar group in their school. As a servant in their Christian Life Seminar, I saw how much they were hungry for the Lord. In my stay in the UD, I’ve learned that it is never too late to say “yes” to the Lord. A lot of people are in different situations or life experiences, and it is only a matter of time that they will actually commit to the Lord. My second learning is that I need to be a light to others. You will never know when someone will need that light. And lastly, in every thing that you do, in every decision that you make, always ask yourself first “What’s the most loving thing that I can do?” I learned this from my Pastoral Leader, Ate Portia de Alba: “Kindness will cost you nothing, give it away like it’s Christmas Day.”


TRUE NORTH BEAT 1 CERI JANE “JHING” TALAN North UD “What do you do ba during Sundays?” my exasperated classmates would asked me after I – yet again – declined their invitations to go out. “I go to classes about my faith, together with other people around my age.” This was the best answer I came up with after being asked countless times since 2008, the year I was invited to attend Ligaya as part of the University District (UD). I had to admit that it was most challenging for me at the start. I had to plan my schedule well so I could faithfully attend UD activities without neglecting my studies. And since my parents are not from community, I had to manage my weekly allowance and set aside a transportation budget to be able to attend district gatherings, foundation courses and retreats. Why was I doing all these adjustments just to be part of this group? It was during my Community Weekend retreat in 2008 when God told me: “I am leading you to where I am. I am leading you to where love is.” And so I thought to myself, these adjustments pale in comparison to what God is offering me. I just have to wait and see. And I was right! In the University District, I experienced my “faith spurts”. This is where I started desiring good things, like holiness, and was supported to become more radical for God. Seeing many young people commit to God and make concrete decisions to follow Him set the bar high for me. I don’t have to be a mediocre Christian and desire temporal things. I am called to live a holy life, to do hard things for God, and aim for things that will last for eternity. And the best part is, I am not alone. Together with me are many other young people making the same choices. Now, my closest friends are the brothers and sisters I met in the UD. These are the people I drink both my study coffee and fellowship coffee with. These are the people I cry and laugh with. These are the people I go to when I ask for prayers and sound advice. I am very much blessed to find God at a young age, and to walk to holiness with other young people.


Photo by Nicholas Robert C. Tan


The UD has teachings, worship, fellowship, and service. The common goals of UD are to come together to worship the Lord, integrate their lives with one another, strengthen relationships, allow members to serve, receive teachings, and just plain fellowship. “The UD has a very vibrant and youthful environment which is a real attraction to our young brothers and sisters. The worship is upbeat, the music zestful and the fellowship extremely interactive… There’s never a dull moment in the University District,” Ces says. “The youthfulness, the energy, the worship, the relationships—all these are the main strengths of the UD,” Ricky adds. But more than the fun and fellowship, the UD members are also giving, serving, and leading other youth toward God. They are our frontliners in the spiritual battle among the youth —through the Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA). While UD can be considered the “base camp” for members to be nourished by community life, teaching and support, CYA is their battlefield where they are the primary evangelizers of their peers. PREPARING FOR THE NEXT STEP According to the overall plan of UD, the “community aims to provide

university children a vital connection with the whole Ligaya community and its leaders; a connection with the mission outreach; some powerful, high-impact spiritual environments through the years; vigorous and inspiring worship life; inspiring and formative teaching at retreats and district gatherings; creating an enjoyable social environment; and solid pastoral care.” In other words, “the primary thrust of UD is to help its young members experience personal conversion—for them to personally decide to love the Lord and offer themselves in service and mission at their present age. Underlying this work is to help them transition into mature, adult disciples,” Toby declares. “We want to bring our young brothers and sisters at this stage in their lives into a deeper conversion and commitment to the Lord as they begin their adult life on their own. Transitions from the YA program to the UD and from the university life to becoming young professionals are serious challenges that our members encounter. These two stages are typically times of great changes in their lives which may directly affect their commitments with the Lord and with community,” Ces adds. That is why it is important for the community to carefully bring them over to the next phase of their lives.

And by looking at how vibrant and solid the University Districts are, we can truly say that Ligaya is indeed becoming a more transgenerational community, with all of its bases fully covered. The community is witnessing more and more young people accepting the covenant call of the Lord. As of today, there are 16 covenanted members in North UD, 11 covenanted members in Central UD, and 19 covenanted members in South UD. Since 2011, North UD had seen around 20 members who heeded the covenant call. Many of them have moved on to other districts. “I get the most joy when I see our Ligaya youth make their covenant commitment. Being a Ligaya kid myself, I know the joy a parent feels when their children make the adult commitment to follow Christ,” Ricky says. “As for me, my primary indicator is the conversion experience of our members. We can have so many prayer meetings, fellowships and activities in UD, but unless our members are led to personally commit their lives to Jesus, then we might end up just be another group of barkadas,” Toby sums it up. But fear not. By God’s grace, we are now seeing the next generation taking their own place in our community.






How have you settled in your role as the Senior Head Coordinator? Is it as difficult or easy as you imagined it to be?

The best part to this service is that I’m surrounded with many brothers and sisters, in various levels of leadership, who are very much committed to our Vision and Mission. Our way of life has been lived out and passed on to us faithfully by our founding leaders. There is no need to “re-invent” various aspects of our life. So I did not start from scratch. My predecessors have faithfully laid out many of the structures, and priorities have already been identified that ought to be continued. Two clear examples are the raising up of more leaders and our investment on our young people. These have been our articulated priorities for the last years in the sector where I have been serving and I believe in the entire community.

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We’re very curious. What did you do before you went to that meeting where you were chosen to be our leader?

I decided to go to my parents' resting place in Loyola Marikina and do my morning prayer time there. I thought of doing that to partly recognize their role in my conversion to the Lord and for my being part of Ligaya. Remember, I was their hesitant youngest child, the last to enter the community. I was partly seeking their intercession that I’d be strengthened and prepared well, in the event that the brothers do elect me as the next leader of Ligaya. I also part jokingly “put the blame” on them, if and when it happened.


How did you feel when you were chosen as the Senior Head Coordinator?

I don’t remember. I really don’t. Some brothers said my face was emotionless, while some said that it seemed like I was about to shed tears but was just holding it back! The selection process was led by Father Herb who gave us some time to pray and seek the Lord's mind, after which a time was spent where brothers entitled to vote were given the chance to ask each candidate questions or share our thoughts on various aspects of the Ligaya’s leadership role. This was immediately followed by casting of ballot. A group of brothers (coordinatortrainees) and Father Herb were tasked to do the vote count.


What was the first thing you told your wife Landa? What was the conversation like?

Landa was having a meeting at the Center with the other Senior Women Leaders at the time the election was happening. So there was no need to tell her, because it seemed like a text message already reached her before we met. She knew that this was a possibility so the best she could do was to embrace me and assure me of her support.



What did you tell your kids? Did you have a different message for each one?

Guess what? My kids also learned about it through their friends in Ligaya, most of whom are children of community leaders and members!


What were the best pieces of advice you received from your brother coordinators?

Most of them came in the form of stories and sharings, but all can be summarized by the fact that this is eventually not about me or even about Ligaya. This is all about God and His love and purpose for us. That this community that we love is His, this was His initiative and that in all these years, God has been faithful. There is no reason to be afraid. Even beyond 40, we need to take one step at a time.


Can you share with us the message/s that you were receiving from God weeks or days before the election?

I was always hesitant to be a leader, even as early as when I was asked to take on the role of a coordinator-trainee. I could cite many reasons on why I should not do it. Knowing the possibility that any of us Sector Coordinators could eventually end up as the next Senior Head Coordinator, the Lord has been calling me to actively embrace this call and this service. In a previous retreat, the Lord reminded me of a passage in the Gospel of John, where as disciples, we are called to places where we would rather not go. Looking back, the Lord was probably preparing me for this.


What character traits are you praying for now that you are the Senior Head Coordinator?

An increased capacity to love and serve my brethren; wisdom and courage as I serve my brother coordinators and other leaders.




What prayers do you ask for from us?

That as I lead, I will hear the Lord much more in prayer, see Him in the relationships we have, and watch Him at work in the events of our community daily life. I will also need prayers in being able to make use of my time wisely and in the most effective way, as I’m not a full-time worker or a business owner who has a lot of time flexibility. That the Lord bless my work responsibilities so that I can ably fulfill my service tasks well.


What is your message to your brothers and sisters in Ligaya?

Be faithful to our covenant and our way of life. Seek the Lord on how and where He wants you to serve. We live in exciting times—challenging yet promising. But each of us has something to contribute to build the body. As one prophetic word reminded us: “we are built for more than this" and that even at 40, God is just getting started with us!


Andy Juan, 53, is the son of Pete and Naty Juan, who joined Ligaya in 1978. Andy is married to Landa, and is a loving father to Noel, Paolo, Cecille and Angela. He was installed as the Senior Head Coordinator in July 2015. He was covenanted in 1982, when he was just 19 years old.



Team 40 by Judith Angela E. Alpay


n 2012, Andy Juan volunteered the North Sector to spearhead the three-year preparations for the 40th anniversary of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. During the initial meeting, Dennis Castillo, who successfully headed the 35th anniversary preparations, was tapped to lead the team, with Ali Leong as co-chair. Other coordinators, Ces Pilapil and Bingo Soriano, were brought in to represent the two other sectors, with Don Escarro later called in to represent the newly-formed North Sector 1. Jun Cruz served as the liaison among the team, the LNP Center and the Overall Leadership Council. This core team took care of the pastoral oversight – through a collegial approach – for all the related activities and events in the run-up to and throughout the 40th year of the community. Aside from the coordinators, other servant-hearted community members stepped up to the call for volunteers: Joey and Ampi Teotico handled the creative issues, Bam Oquendo managed all administrative matters, and Cris Hilario headed the communications and secretariat functions, with the help of Leni Plaza. Vic Gutierrez, one of the founding members of Ligaya, was consulted regularly, mainly for the yearlong 40th celebration, including the conference, recollection, reunion, and send-off after the grand reunion, as well as other community events – Day of Dedication, Lenten and Easter celebrations, Feast of the Covenant and the Christmas celebration, among others.


TRUE NORTH BEAT 1 SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD Inspired to seek the Lord first and foremost and in every step of the way, Ali facilitated the brainstorming session with a lot of prayer time. “Right from the very start, even in the brainstorming session itself, our posturing became very spiritual because we really wanted to pursue only what the Lord wanted for Ligaya,” Dennis tells True North. Hence, the themes as well as the flagship projects were developed as a fruit of prayer. Note that while the team wanted to focus on the cardinal virtues, it also highlighted our call, mission and life as a community. The theme for 2013 was “Heeding the Call in Faith”. In 2014, it was “Pursuing the Mission in Hope.” And in 2015, the theme was “Living the Life in Love”. FRUITS OF PRAYERS There were many fruits of the prayer. Among them are: • THE JOY OF PRAYER (Dennis and Francis Iturralde as project managers): We were not just concerned about celebrations. We saw that the need across the community was to grow in our prayer life. This book is a prayer guide, a compilation of what we use for our Lord’s Day and the Seder Meal, as well as liturgical seasons like Advent,” Den-

nis explains. The peg was the Lingkod prayer book published some years ago. Francis suggested that the book aligns itself with the church, “that’s why it also included the breviary, the liturgy of the hours, which is being prayed by the Servants of the Word.” • MUSIC FOR HIS GLORY (Ces and Kent Sitaca as project managers): Seeking to harness the musical talent within community, this songwriting festival attracted 60 English and Tagalog song submissions. There was just too much talent. Fifteen songs were produced and recorded for the album instead of the initially planned ten. Chi Datu Bocobo was producer of the project who made sure it was something to really be proud of. • COFFEE TABLE BOOK (Bingo and Gary Mendoza as project managers): “Here, we wanted to tell the story of a people—God’s people, beyond just a collage of pictures.” • KASADYA (Bingo, Ampi and Abyong Calo as project managers): To mark the culmination of our anniversary year, we will mount a multimedia exhibit at the Ligaya Centre in July where our members will showcase

artwork and memorabilia of our shared life together. THE JOURNEY Looking back, Dennis has fond memories of Team 40. Getting to know more about the brothers and sisters in the team up-close has resulted in deeper friendships. “I’m inspired by the team. Ang gagaling nila. They are all-out in their commitment.” “Masaya kami! We would meet here at my home. It’s always a joy to meet, and also to cook for brothers and sisters,” he adds. The group also had meetings at Bingo’s house and at the Teoticos’. “Sometimes we wondered if there’s something we could achieve in these meetings, as there was much more laughter than serious discussions.” “On a spiritual realm, nagugulat kami sa kinalalabasan ng plano namin. Nakakapanindig-balahibo!” he narrates. The annual parade of banners brings back memories of the year we were called. As early as the first year of the three-year run-up, after the banners were paraded, everybody was ready to worship, even without any exhortation. We believe that the parade of banners by families brings us to that level of gratitude. It stirs something in all of us – more of our passion and conviction, rather than just emotions. We can hear God speaking to us individually

We believe that the parade of banners by families brings us to that level of gratitude. It stirs something in all of us —more of our passion and conviction, rather than just emotions. 16


over and over again, every time we witness the parade. Even our guests from other communities would say, ‘We want to do that ... We have to do that.” The people who participated in the parade of banners have come up to them and expressed their gratitude, saying they were honored to be in the parade as they were not carrying mere banners, but God’s words to the community. Amid all the successes in activities and events, Dennis said there were a lot of learnings too. “At first, we thought that our mandate was to seek God’s mind and go all out. We can be creative without minding the budget. But, of course, we had to recalibrate moving forward,” he said. “Challenges come with the territory—getting more people to participate, to give more of their time. With confidence in the brothers and sisters and a lot of prayers, we realized that we can only do so much. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, everything will pan out well,” Dennis adds. “We have learned our lesson to trust in the Lord and trust in our brethren.” Dennis summed up their Team 40 experience as “overwhelming, but not as daunting.”



We all give the credit to the Lord, nobody else deserves it. We only have sincere and genuine acknowledgment of God’s work through us. “This service with Team 40 made me love Ligaya more. After my 30 years in Ligaya, I have a renewed appreciation of us as a people,” he declares. “When it’s finally over, there were some sense of excitement and relief, but the most profound feeling was the joy in our hearts —that the Lord saw us through as


we made ourselves available for His purpose.” “We all give the credit to the Lord, nobody else deserves it. We only have sincere and genuine acknowledgment of God’s work through us.” Amid all the preparations and activities, Dennis drew his strength from this Bible verse: “I have shown

you what is good, O man...This is what Yahweh asks of you: Show mercy and kindness and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)” He believes it is God already telling and teaching him the answer to his own question: How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me? “This service is my expression of giving back to Him.”



Community traditions – be they religious, social or cultural – have deeply ingrained in the collective memory of Ligaya members throughout the years. They are part of our way of life, something experiential and tangible that we can look back on and look forward to at the same time.

These are nine traditions that mark Ligaya's life as a community. Day of Dedication In the same way as Jesus was dedicated to the temple as a child, the community holds the same celebration for Ligaya babies every year. The little ones are introduced to the body and consecrated to God. In this way, Ligaya parents are being reminded that the children are the Lord’s, more than their own. JYA/YA Camps Amazing race, war games, entertainment night – you name it, youth camps have it! The community's youth, specifically the Junior Young Adults (JYA) and Young Adults (YA), are very active in their quest to follow Jesus. Aside from the fellowship activities that strengthen the bonds of these young disciples, the camps give significant amount



Photo taken from Maestro’s Facebook

of time for prayer, worship and ministry establishing their personal bond with the Lord.

Community Weekend As the members grow deeper into the faith, the community grows further in numbers. Every year, a weekend retreat is held for those who are invited to investigate the life of discipleship of a Ligaya member. Many of them are from the outreach communities such as Christ’s Youth in Action, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon and Pathways. This is by-invitation only. The retreat gives one a greater appreciation of the call, the Ligaya way of life and how we are part of the Sword of the Spirit, an ecumenical “community of communities” committed to Christian unity.

MWGs Isn't it more fun to have faithbased friends who you can bond and share secrets with? Or do recreational activities or spend dinner time with? But more than these, our Men’s or Women’s group is for our constant formation and transformation – each with a Pastoral Leader giving us encouragement and guidance.


Lord's Day Celebration “We mark the week’s end with a Christian version of the Jewish Shabbat performed at sunset each Saturday. The name “Shabbat” means “rest.” On this day, we set aside the concerns of the week to honor the Lord and celebrate his resurrection; we cease from our work in order to worship God and remember the eternal life to which he has called us.” As Jesus commemorated this with His apostles during the Passover meal, Ligaya opens the Lord's Day on the early evening of Saturday, and closes it on the early evening of Sunday. All brothers and sisters come in their best attire in respect and honor to the day dedicated for the King. The Christian Seder Meal


“Uso pa ba ang harana?” so asks this popular song. In Ligaya, it is! Engaged couples who have followed the rewarding courtship pattern are honored in this loving way. The men and women of the community wear their best barong tagalog and Filipiniana dress, as they prepare creative presentations, such as dances, songs and skits for the couples. The engaged couples, on their part, prepare their honoring for their soon-tobe-spouse. They are also showered with pieces of advice and prayers by their brothers and sisters. Indeed, romance is like no other when God is at the center!

also done during birthdays, anniversaries, send-offs and other special celebrations where a celebrant receives a collection of kind words from his brothers and sisters. Truly, every little deed is appreciated and honored, contributing to the prominent “up-building” environment of the Community.

Honorings Are you aware of your good qualities and deeds? The ministry of encouragement is very much ingrained in the hearts of the brothers and sisters of Ligaya. By doing simple and random good acts such as helping arrange the chairs, it is normal for a person to receive compliments from others. “Thank you so much for your service” is a common refrain. “Honorings” are

Talking about the Lord's Day celebration, do you know that there is a more special form done on Holy Thursday? We celebrate the essence of the Passover story with Christ's passion through the Christian Seder Meal. First, we eat the “Israelites-in-a-hurry” meal— the unleavened bread. “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Second, we taste the bitterness of the suffering of God's people through the bitter herbs, and dip these in salt water, symbolizing their tears.

Third, as in every hardship, there is a certain hope that awaits, behold the shimmering Elijah's Cup connoting the Israelites' anticipation of their prophet’s return to herald the Messiah. Fourth, let the big bone pierce your heart that has received the mercy of the Lord through the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. And finally, will you not be joyful in grasping the spring of Jesus' resurrection through the symbol of the very humble hardboiled egg? The festive Seder Meal reminds us that once we were prisoners in the darkness, but now we are walking in God's marvelous light. It would have been enough for us to settle in our old comfort zone, but our loving Father has blessed us in His new journey.

Photo by Aly Sapungan Capote


Mantle and Veil Every year, the Community celebrates the Feast of the Covenant where men and women who have completed formation courses and have undergone their discernment are accepted as Covenanted Members. Men are given their mantles to be placed on their shoulders as a symbol of taking on the yoke of Christ. Women are given their veils to be placed on their heads as a symbol of placing their lives in total submission to Jesus. They wear their mantle and veil in remembrance of their covenant.

These are just few of the traditions of Ligaya. As each one cobble together, pulling members into a more blazing passion than ever towards the Anchor of it all, this can only lead to a stronger unity of the body. As these beautiful ways have been provided for us by the Lord so as to be able to stand firmly against what the world offers us, we have no other response but to give Him glory and honor by following His steps and allowing His hands to mold us in this anointed bulwark.

Honorings are done during birthdays, anniversaries, send-offs and other special celebrations where a celebrant receives a collection of kind words from brothers and sisters. 21


Ode to the

GreatEST True North sits down with the father-and-son tandem who is assigned to design the Annex building of Ligaya Center. Mario and Franco Nabor tell us the story and inspiration behind the design. Franco: The design of the Annex was inspired not by literal objects or works of art, but by various intangible and abstract things like philosophies, experiences, processes or dialogues that gave depth to the design. I was inspired by the philosophy used by Shanghai Based Architects Neri & Hu when they did The Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai. It was a 1930s Army Headquarters transformed into a boutique hotel. The philosophy was to have a clear distinction between what is old and new. To preserve the old and provide links with the past, but at the same time having a modern design language. There was contrast but when viewed as a whole both old and new looked like they co-existed.


Mario: As for the process, it started when Ligaya came to us with specific requirements for the Annex. Our response was to come up with the best scheme possible with the necessities in mind. We wanted an architectural wonder, but we were made to reflect if this is what God truly wants, and what



ARCHITECT would be the best way to honor Him with the resources we have, and with the limitations we have. We had to adjust the parameters due to budget and requirement considerations. This process went on for a time. At the end, we were able to produce three designs for this project. Franco: Looking back, I can’t help but recall that instance when Jesus asked Simon Peter thrice if he loves Him. Likewise, our team’s affirmation of our love for God has also been tested through the process we took to achieve the three schemes. The direction to be good stewards for our people and our resources was a manifestation of Jesus’ response to Peter’s answer: “Take care of my sheep.” It wasn’t about what we can do to have an amazing structure, but about how best can God use the abilities He has given us for His plan.

So, what can we expect in the Annex building? Franco: Architecturally speaking, the general concept was for the Annex building to co-exist and at the same time contrast and complement the existing 10 year-old LNP Center. The design of the Annex wouldn’t mimic the style of the Center with the same façade and details. Rather, the Annex is


TRUE NORTH BEAT 2 consider, the team identified three essential areas to be included in the program of the Annex, namely: a multimedia studio on the third floor, adjacent to the Hindang Herrera Hall, a dedicated youth lounge on the second floor, and an expanded dining hall on the ground floor to accommodate more people.

Did you have any architectural innovation introduced here? Franco: The Annex is a very straightforward building given that cost and efficiency were the main drivers for this project. “Green Buildings” are the trend right now but I believe that every building should be inherently green or sustainable, not for marketing reasons but because it is the responsible thing to do. Mario: For the structural layout done by Engr. Edward Lansang (CDA), the building would follow the same module as the existing center to maximize the already limited footprint and for a more structurally rigid building.

designed to represent the time it was built in. Overall, it is a dialogue between the old and the new; two structures that enhance each other’s identity through their differences. Mario: Functionally speaking, the Annex is also planned to augment the current Center’s growing


needs. The Annex was originally intended to be used for music and multimedia activities only, until there was a decision to include the youth and expand the dining area. It was also decided that the Annex will be built on the existing lanai instead of the parking area because of our limited parking. Given the constraints we had to

Franco: To save on cost, we used the existing windows from the side of the center which will be blocked by the annex building. This serves as a link, so to speak, between the existing structure and the new annex. We took into account every window module and size, then arranged them in a random manner to create the new facade of the Annex. We believe this gesture will serve as an abstraction of what multimedia and the youth today symbolize: The ability to be creative and spontaneous despite working within a set of rules. This youthful gesture further extends to our plans for the ceiling system: To also minimize initial cost the ceiling will be exposed while a modular ceiling system will be provided

TRUE NORTH BEAT 2 in areas needed. Like the façade, the ceiling will also be a random arrangement between light diffusers and acoustic baffles. Mario: To address the problem of the building’s orientation towards the hot afternoon sun in the west, we provided a “second skin” on the façade, made out of perforated metal to act as a sun screen. From the outside, the metal second skin can be seen as something thin and light, compared to the concrete and uniform façade of the existing Center. This would help reduce the cooling load of the building and in effect minimize operating expenses for the Center.

How did you feel when you were asked to design the Ligaya Center? Franco: It was actually my dad who was asked to design the Annex, and then it was he who asked me to help him design. Of course, I felt excited and honored at the same time. This project is very personal to me, not only because I grew up in community, but because I will be designing the building next to the existing building my dad did 10 years ago. Mario: We both felt that we have an added responsibility when we were designing because this is for the community we belong to. Franco: After going through the process, I felt very humbled by the experience because I realized that this isn’t about us or the talents God gave us, but about our community and God’s plan for us. I was also inspired and enlightened about how our leaders discerned and showed how it is to be responsible stewards of our community and its resources. Mario: We believe that every project we go into should be treated

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1). as a masterpiece, with the same amount of time, dedication and passion like any other project,

regardless of the scale. With God’s grace, we intend to continue this outlook for the years to come.

Mario Nabor joined Ligaya ng Panginoon Community in 1982 and is part of Central District B. As principal architect of his firm MNDA Architects, he has been practicing for over 38 years. He is also a Fellow at the United Architects of the Philippines, the professional organization for architects. His son Franco Nabor was born into the community in 1989. He is currently part of the Central University District. He has been working for Architect Ed Calma at Lor Calma and Partners as project architect handling various projects such as offices, commercial and residential projects. The father and son collaborated on the design of the Annex building of the Ligaya Center, which is set to be unveiled this year. “The Community has helped me a lot both professionally and spiritually. We are very happy to be of service to the Community through this project,” Mario says.



and my Song by Chi Datu-Bocobo




t was my third-grade teacher who prodded me to join my first-ever singing contest in school. That was also my first exposure to the world of music, outside my home, which had its share of vinyl records, karaoke music, mom’s guitar and piano , worship songs and my late dad’s famous Sinatra-Bennett a cappella renditions. Besides joining the school choir, I was also into poetry when I was younger. I would doodle phrases throughout the day, and eventually come up with some poetic verses. I also enjoyed creative writing and all kinds of word play, so my first compositions were high school cheers or mere song adaptations. My first try in being a songwriter came when I wrote for our graduation songwriting contest in high school. I performed the winning piece, but alas, it wasn’t mine. THE BREAK My first real professional break came around the time of my col-

lege graduation when I recorded a commercial jingle. Okay, make that second. In my heart of hearts, my first real break was when I was handpicked to sing solo in a Martin Nievera concert at the ULTRA when I was in 6th grade. Never mind that I was paid in kind … the kind that’s crispylicious, juicylicious and comes in one or two pieces with rice and gravy. While I’d love to dwell in that pretty awesome experience, let’s fast forward to nine years later when I sang that first jingle I was talking about. I was so thrilled recording it, I knew for sure it was something I wanted to do for a very long time, if not for the rest of my life. Who would have thought that singing a 30-second soy sauce jingle could lead to such a profound realization? I have not stopped being a voice talent since. MUSIC MINISTRY While all these were going on, I was also a mainstay in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon’s South District Mu-

sic Ministry. I sang and played the keyboard during District Gatherings. Eventually, I became part of a musical theatre group composed of Young Adults (YA) that would later produce its own adaptation of the musical stage play “Joseph the Dreamer”. Thus, my love for music blossomed and rooted me more deeply into Ligaya, where I would later embrace a covenanted life. When I decided to pursue a career in the broadcast media, music and songwriting took a backseat. It became just a means of relaxation after a hard day’s work. I would sing and write jingles on the side, which helped augment my income but mostly filled my need for creativity and selfexpression. That was a struggle since the news network would rather not have me get involved in music endeavors due to conflict of interest and credibility issues. But music being a big part of me, I asked the Lord for opportunities to use my gifts anyway.



WRITING FOR A CAUSE Some 10 years ago, I told the Lord I wanted to write more meaningful songs that would make a difference. And God gave me the role of co-producing an album for the United Nations. It was for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) campaign, a global commitment of member states to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and many other development issues. By His grace alone, I managed to form a team of Filipino recording artists, musicians, songwriters and composers to collaborate and create a song for the eight goals. One of the songs I wrote was the MDG anthem, Tayo Tayo Rin, which was performed by various artists like Lea Salonga, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, The APO Hiking Society, Sharon Cuneta, Sarah Geronimo and a lot more. It was every budding songwriter’s dream. In God’s perfect plan, there are simply no impossibilities. MUSIC FOR HIS GLORY More than a decade later, I would play the same role as co-producer for Ligaya’s first professionallyproduced music album, Music For His Glory. Each step in the production process was led by the Holy Spirit. One of the goals was to make this a tool for evangelization. We had to produce it professionally, yet with minimal spending. We needed an audio production house to record and mix all 15 songs, and HIT Productions’ Dennis Cham so generously offered the services at almost no cost. His requests were to tap professional singers to keep recording sessions brief, hold the sessions during weekends, and compensate the sound engineers. I sat down with composer and musical arranger Teddy Katigbak and listened to the 15 entries—



mostly raw and unarranged. We searched for peg music varying from pop, gospel, R&B and rock, and from there, Teddy took on the arduous task of arranging each song from scratch. Finally, we hired recording artists—mostly friends in the industry whose voices complemented the music arrangement. We also had our very own Ligaya talents record some of the tracks. After a few months of recording sessions, music production and revisions, the mixed and mastered CD was ready for replication and distribution, all in time for Christmas 2014. BROKEN HALLELUIAHS One of the tracks in Music For His Glory is You Make My Heart Sing. I wrote it as a prayer of thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for me, my family, especially my son Sancho. I once learned from studying the Psalms that we can praise God through our Halleluiahs, not just when we are filled with joy but even more so through difficult times. These are our broken Halleluiahs. My son is afflicted with a genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, and the journey has not been easy. But through God’s love, Sancho’s prayer warriors, and the love of community, we continue to praise Him.

Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah Your love is amazing Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah You make my heart sing STYLE & COLLABORATION When writing songs, I usually start with what I call a doodle page. I start with a word, a thought or a phrase. Then I create ripples of words and thoughts around them. I come up with a verse or a stanza, which can either serve


Kung Akin Ang Langit tops favorites. I wrote song Kung Akin Ang Langit tops thethe listlist of of mymy favorites. I wrote thisthis song forfor Sancho. It speaks one’s love child. It basically ourour sonson Sancho. It speaks of of one’s love forfor hishis or or herher child. It basically says I could give you everything you need, I would. I believe that when says if I ifcould give you everything you need, I would. I believe that when one writes from heart, can’t wrong. Sometimes, less one writes from thethe heart, he he or or sheshe can’t gogo wrong. Sometimes, less is is more. more.

Verse Verse 1 1 Kung akin ang langit Kung akin ang langit Laging may bahaghari Laging may bahaghari Tumingala lang Tumingala ka ka lang Tiyak kang ngingiti Tiyak kang ngingiti Verse Verse 2 2 Kung akin ang mga ibon Kung akin ang mga ibon Pa-aawitin Pa-aawitin silasila Ipadarama sa’yong Ipadarama sa’yong Mahal mahal kita Mahal na na mahal kita It has a special place in my heart because it also created some awareIt has a special place in my heart because it also created some awareness genetic condition, SMA, when it won People’s Choice in last ness onon hishis genetic condition, SMA, when it won People’s Choice in last year’s Philippine Popular Music Festival. Special thanks Ligaya year’s Philippine Popular Music Festival. Special thanks to to thethe Ligaya vote! vote! Supernatural. This describes many blessings God sent way Supernatural. This describes thethe many blessings God hashas sent ourour way since Sancho was born. is also of the song I wrote to acknowlsince Sancho was born. It isItalso thethe titletitle of the song I wrote to acknowledge miracles have witnessed a family and how God’s hand edge thethe miracles wewe have witnessed as as a family and how God’s hand made unthinkable happen because immeasurable love and hashas made thethe unthinkable happen because of of HisHis immeasurable love and mercy. mercy. True meaning, song became part a praise album Music True to to its its meaning, thisthis song became part of of a praise album Music Soul created a sister from Central District E, Abbie Sandico forfor MyMy Soul created by by a sister from thethe Central District E, Abbie Sandico who had lovingly dedicated about a thousand copies raise funds who had so so lovingly dedicated about a thousand copies to to raise funds Sancho’s power wheelchair. Amazingly, a copy into hands forfor Sancho’s power wheelchair. Amazingly, a copy fellfell into thethe hands of of a a generous couple residing in the U.S. who asked that allow Lord generous couple residing in the U.S. who asked that wewe allow thethe Lord to to bless Sancho through them. bless Sancho through them.

Chorus Chorus May I always recognize May I always recognize I look through heaven’s eyes AsAs I look through heaven’s eyes supernatural AllAll thethe supernatural Blessings in my Blessings in my lifelife Bridge Bridge one ever imagined NoNo one hashas ever imagined What you have prepared What you have prepared forfor meme signs heaven make long YetYet signs of of heaven make meme long eternity ForFor all all eternity Miserando Atque Eligendo. This is Pope Francis Bergoglio’s motto, and Miserando Atque Eligendo. This is Pope Francis Bergoglio’s motto, and also title song I wrote Filipinos in time Papal also thethe title of of thethe song I wrote forfor thethe Filipinos in time forfor thethe Papal Visit. A copy together with Sancho’s prayer request were handed Visit. A copy of of thisthis together with Sancho’s prayer request were handed Pope Francis aboard plane one journalists commissioned to to Pope Francis aboard thethe plane by by one of of thethe journalists commissioned report about Pope’s visit. News5 aired song together with to to report about thethe Pope’s visit. News5 aired thethe song together with thethe video highlights visit. video highlights of of hishis visit. Months later, received a note from Vatican saying Holy Months later, wewe received a note from thethe Vatican saying thethe Holy Father gives family apostolic blessings. Father gives ourour family hishis apostolic blessings.

Pre-chorus Pre-chorus Ang kabutihang ipinamalas kaawa-awa Ang kabutihang ipinamalas sa sa kaawa-awa Ginawa Diyos Na’ting tagapaglikha Ginawa momo rinrin sa sa Diyos nating Tagapaglikha Chorus: Chorus: Hamak man tayo’y hinirang Niya (Filipino) Hamak man tayo’y hinirang Niya (Filipino) lowly chosen (English) WeWe areare lowly butbut chosen (English) Mapainubsanon kita pero bulahan (Waray) Mapainubsanon kita pero bulahan (Waray) Miserando Atque Eligendo (Latin) Miserando Atque Eligendo (Latin)





Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19 NIV)

Photo by Chi Datu-Bocobo

as the song’s verse or chorus. For me, rhyme and meter are important because they make the song more cohesive, intuitive and easily recalled. The length of time for songwriting varies. Sometimes, a song I had finished in three days would continue to evolve. It is best not to be too attached to one’s initial draft. Chances are there will be changes or corrections. It helps to have people critique your work too. The Friends of Jesus (FOJ) song was something I’ve always wanted to do for the community. Members of our MWG as well as other FOJ servants have long asked for a song the FOJ could sing and call their own. Finally I wrote the words and collaborated with composer and arranger Kahlil Refuerzo on the melody and arrangement. This is such a meaningful project because I myself was once an

FOJ. At the time I wrote the song, I was serving the South FOJ with my husband Jorge. It’s a way of giving back and praising the Lord for having brought me into the Community in my early years. Many times, I get inspiration from Bible verses that come to mind. Recently I wrote a song called Pira-Piraso. It is a song by a prodigal son to His Father and the Father sings to him in the end. It easily passes for a love song because the words go: “Sino ba naman ako para isipin mo… pabalik pa lang sana sa’yo natagpuan mo na ako….” This was actually inspired by Psalm 8:4 “What is man that you are mindful of him?...” LITURGICAL SONGWRITING My goal was to continue writing inspirational songs and songs for

worship. Last 2014, however, in a Catholic Educators forum a nun encouraged me to study music more in depth, and this time, liturgical songwriting in particular. I politely thanked her for her suggestion and promised to pray about it. As I write this, I am about to finish a Liturgical Songwriting Course at the Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo under the expert hand of Fr. Manoling V. Francisco, the composer of Hindi Kita Malilimutan, Tanging Yaman, Sa’Yo Lamang and a number of my favorite liturgical mass hymns. The course has helped me learn to collaborate with other musicians, learn music theories and apply them. Above all, it has inspired me to compose songs with a renewed purpose, that is: To write music that will help people fix their eyes on heaven.


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. (Ecclesiastes 3)